Rand Paul blocking tax treaties over fears of government snooping

Rand Paul blocking tax treaties over fears of government snooping

By Bernie Becker and Alexander Bolton

The Hill

January 13, 2012

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is holding up a trio of international tax treaties over concerns that the pacts give the federal government too much power to invade personal privacy.

The Obama administration says the three treaties — with Luxembourg, Hungary and Switzerland — will help the United States battle tax evasion by reining in the use of offshore accounts to hide assets from the IRS.

But a Senate aide said the libertarian-leaning Paul thinks the treaties go too far and has placed a hold on them to prevent floor votes.

Paul, an outspoken critic of the Patriot Act because of privacy concerns, thinks the agreements “allow the government to obtain a wide array of records without evidence that people may be hiding money,” the aide said.

Supporters of the treaties have yet to offer changes to address Paul’s concerns, the Senate source added, leaving the issue at an impasse. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee cleared the three treaties, all of which were signed well over a year ago, by voice vote in July.

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